If you’re passionate about working with children and helping to shape the future generation, becoming a teaching assistant might be the perfect start to your career in education!
Working as a TA (teaching assistant) is one of the most fulfilling roles to be a part of as you’ll be able to develop the skills, character and confidence of the students you’ll be supporting.
Find out if you should you become a teaching assistant here.
Lots of people considering a career in education often begin by becoming a teaching assistant to get a feel for the role before deciding to train to become a fully qualified teacher.
With class sizes increasing across the UK, TA’s are in demand as teachers struggle to find the essential one-to-one time that students need. This is why the role of the teaching assistant is vital to the successful running of a classroom.
What do teaching assistants do?
As the classroom TA, you’ll be on hand to guide and encourage the students while the teacher focuses on educating the class as a whole.
Some common day-to-day TA tasks include:
- Listening to the children read
- Motivating and encouraging
- Supporting small groups of students in lessons
- Helping the children with maths, reading and writing skills
- Giving one-on-one help to any students that need it
- Supervising lunch times, school trips and school events (like sports day)
- Preparing activities and learning materials for the week ahead
- Putting up displays to make the classroom visually inspiring
- Keeping the classroom tidy
- You could also be on hand to help pupils with special education needs (SEN) or students that speak English as a second language, depending on your skills, knowledge and experience
Wondering what else you’ll be doing during the working day? Here’s what a day in the life of a teaching assistant looks like
How do I get experience?
Competition for teaching assistant jobs can be high so having the right certifications and experience on your CV can really help you get that all-important interview and land the job.
Your employer will be looking for your recent experience working with children, any relevant experience that will enhance your role and of course a passion for what you want to do. So, how do you go about getting this experience?
The answer may be easier than you think!
- Your own kids! (or those in your family)
One of the reasons many people choose to work as a TA is because they are heading back into work after taking some time out to raise a family (and after all the hands-on experience with children, you’ll be well prepared for life in the classroom!)
- Helping out at community classes
Pop over to your local community hall to see what local activities are being held during the school holidays, evenings and weekends. There will be plenty of activities going to keep the little ones entertained and you’ll be able to lend a helping hand by volunteering your time. Even better, if you have a child and they already attend a class, why not offer to help there – you’ll still be able to watch but you’ll also gain experience working with a group of children too – bonus!
- Volunteering your time in weekend reading groups at the library
Brush up on your ‘reading along’ skills by volunteering at the local library. They often run reading groups over the weekends and school holidays to encourage more children to read. You can gain experience in helping a child with their studies by lending your time for free.
If you’re interested in being a teaching assistant, why not ask the school local to you if you can visit and observe the teachers and other TAs. This will give you a very clear idea of what’s expected of you in the new role and will help the school see that you are really passionate about learning the ropes! Here’s what you’ll learn in your first month as a teaching assistant
If you’re skilled in other areas like sports, music, language or maths, you could tutor students to help improve their skills and grades.
Taking a course is the best approach to getting experience working directly with children. By studying a course you’ll have access to the expert knowledge from your course tutor and they’ll be able to answer any questions you may have along the way. Choosing to study a course also ensures you have the most up-to-date knowledge and certifications when you’re ready to start your career in the classroom. There’s no better way to prove to your employer that you’re really serious about having a bright future in this area.
Want to read more about this rewarding career? Read this next!
5 reasons people work in the classroom... and why you should too!